Friday, 12 February 2016

Splashing About In The Pool

This is not a series of thoughts about hitting the local pool in winter to learn new skills but rather spending time splashing about in the pool of learning and the feeling that you are slipping under. At the end of this note I will get back around to boats and building them, please bear with me as I wander in that direction.

Last year just as I was thinking about having the web site updated, the company that looked after my site folded and they did a good job of making sure the site stayed up and transferring it to a new host. The issues that arose where from the fact that the original company not only hosted the site, but looked after its content based on the information I supplied them in order to update it. The issues only came to light after a summer of designing and building new models preparing the plans, writing new content, and then contacting the new host to be told that they don’t look after content, just hosting.

Back to the pool, it’s at times like that where you suddenly realize that all the work you have put in, making you think that you were headed somewhere, was illusory. It turns out that in fact you where treading water, suspended, going nowhere, working hard but not making any progress.

The good thing about this was it gave me more reason to rethink the site and how it works. Over the years the site has been in existence one thing I always wanted was for it to be more responsive, to be able to alter it without having to write the content then pass it along and wait till it was my turn to have the updates installed. I also wanted it to be more user friendly, with our association with Noah’s you needed to get off my site and go to theirs to place a kit order, not real convenient.
With the new site the idea is to link each of the boats to the appropriate page on their site so you simply click the link and go directly to the page that contains the ordering information on their site. This should make it seem to be essentially one big site where everything you need is just a click away. To achieve this I decided to build the site with new content myself, this would leave me with all the files and the ability to modify the site in a timelier manner. 

What makes this possible is the use of a WYSIWIG (what you see is what you get) site builder which means you do not need to be able to write computer code to build your site but for the most part you simply type in what you want. This by the way only works to a certain extent as you need at times when using things like Pay Pal or links to other sites to insert their code into your site to make them functional. Even this simple method of building a site at times has left me feeling like I was back in the pool, definitively in the deep end and floundering badly. I am sure the company that hosts the site must have when answering some of my newbie questions wondered how I even managed to turn the computer on in the morning.

Writing this has led me to think about the boats, their plan sets their construction and how easy it is to assume things which can leave others floundering. One of the things I noticed while going through this process was how in all our fields we tend to forget that those who are learning and those with no or limited exposure to what it is we do have no idea what some of the terminology and short forms we tend to use mean.

I guess what I am really trying to say is this dip in the pool has not been a bad thing, besides the expansion of my understanding of the electronic world, I will try to keep in mind what this experience has been like when plan sets are put together. If you are building from our plans and you think I am assuming knowledge you don’t have send us a note, it will make not only the process easier for you it may help clarify things for someone else down the road.